CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois reported 3,198 new COVID cases and 15 deaths Wednesday.
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health says "daily deaths reported on weekends and at the beginning of the week may be low" and "those deaths will be captured in subsequent days."
There have been at least 3,611,415 total COVID cases in the state since the start of the pandemic and at least 34,498 related deaths.
As of Tuesday night, 1,477 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 188 patients were in the ICU, and 57 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. Health officials say 19% of ICU beds are available.
The daily case rate per 100,000 population is at 30.7.
A total of 23,094,331 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Tuesday, and 65.40% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 9,112.
New study finds natural infection wanes at same rate as boosters
More than 1,200 Rush University Medical Center employees are participating in a study measuring antibody levels since receiving the 2nd dose of the COVID vaccine. Dr. James Moy's research was recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
"Every new variant tries to escape the antibodies that are made against the first variant," Moy said. "Antibodies are always better against old variants versus new variants."
Dr. Moy says his research found that following the first two shots, antibody levels against Omicron and all of its sub-variants, dropped by close to 60%. But Moy said if you get the booster, those levels go right back up, though, they do drop again over a period of time.
"What we saw on our original research, after five months, you are down 90% of original levels," Moy said.
Moy said his study shows natural infection wanes at the same rate as boosters because antibody levels drop quickly in a few months.
Moy strongly encouraged people to get the third shot, and if eligible, the fourth. He also said to definitely get the tweaked vaccine in the fall.
At Rush's lab, the BA4 and BA5 variants are responsible for almost 100% of the COVID cases in Chicago over the past month. But virologists know the virus will mutate again.
"Different mutations can affect the virus in different and unexpected ways," said Hannah Barbian, a virologist at Rush. "There is no guarantee it will continue to evolve to be less severe."
Moy's study is ongoing and will continue with the evolution of COVID vaccines.
Measuring antibody levels can only be done through a doctor. Right now, there is not an over-the-counter method.